Hispanic literature Literatura Hispana

Rashid (ENG)

A short story by Mercedes Pailles.


Mercedes Pailles

All that you are looking for
is also looking for you.
Franz Kafka

A halo-like white turban for an instant covered the sunset, along with all the heat that burned me. Nothing came close to the overwhelming fire of recognizing who threw the first stone at me. It was him, my friend Rashid. My sore skin moans.

Sometimes I ran into Rashid and my soul trembled. However, our opposite religions, in his words, “my lack of one”, had led us to break our friendship.
A few days earlier, Rashid had announced to the four winds what he professed. “Today after the prayer, we will announce the name of the person to be stoned.” Terrified, I dreamed of collecting all possible rocks and making them disappear. This impossible act has removed my hunger and my power to sleep. The next morning, I went to Rashid’s house and when I had him in front of me, I yelled at him:
Even if they finish with the body, its absence will become a presence and your conscience will not let you rest!”

That afternoon they listed the reason for her death. They exclaimed among the list of things, “To be a lost woman.” Emphasizing, “Her death will redeem her from all sin.”
For moments I wished I was on the other side, their side. They sounded so sure, so convinced. I still needed to belong. However, I, Fatima, at home, made space for the girls and their sutra lessons, giving deep meaning to my life.

After the announced stoning date, I sometimes ran into Rashid, and our skin and soul trembled. We agreed on so many things, we enjoyed each other´s company. Over time, our being became a space to be. I got used to his radical positions. At times, our discussions led him to have a voice I didn’t know; still, my affection widened. I never imagined he would cast the first stone.

Days before, upon hearing the name of Fatima, my nickname, I wished with all my will to go back in time to have a moment alone with him. The moment was granted to me. By chance, by planning? Only he knows. We meet outside the cell assigned to me. In the distance, one could hear the murmuring of my custodians. By some spell, they had been summoned away from the prisoners and just my friend had been assigned to the watch. The moonless night allowed no light at all. The two of us in a, what was an instant and an eternity, embraced each other. I let go of Rashid.

The next morning, I walked alone to the wall. As I looked at the stones scattered on the ground, the boulders thrown by the angry and justice-seeking crowd I felt the lacerating bales smeared with the blood of my blood. I silenced my moans, finding solace and refuge in my breathing.
Minutes before being deposited on my sandy grave, I Fatima was dragged among the chorus of men, while my body inscribed on the sand the word freedom.

Rashid slowly approached me, holding a single boulder in his hands, the whiteness of his turban blinded me. He tried to touch me and entangled himself in my hijab. His scent curled around my neck. The path suddenly blurred. The raging blood bathed me with an urgency to reach for life; while the story of friendship taking hold of me, bled out.

I crossed my body, while memory, skeleton, and the red of the sunset, saw him standing in front of me. His cardamom scent intoxicated me, mingling with my dying soul. Tracing my shape, his eyes were filled with horror; Rashid crouched down, as he did when he bowed in prayer. I heard a wail entangling between his voice and depth; it called out to me. While eternity was settling into another world, the whisper of a prayer covered me. A sutra turning into a buzz was taking me far, far away from there. Minutes later, with a slow and painful step, he got up, making sure of my death.

Mercedes Pailles

Has a Master´s degree in Occupational Therapy, Psychomotricity and Pedagogics. She is a teacher of Infant Massage. She also worked as an Educational consultant and gave national and international workshops.

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